October 6, 2005  




Broken Social Scene
American Primitive Vol. 2
Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom
Jackson & His Computer Band
Geraldo Pino
Steve Spacek
The Fall
Franz Ferdinand
Hartley Goldstein
The Occasion


Paul Williams
My Morning Jacket

No New York (Various)
The Magic Numbers
The Go! Team

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Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets for tonight's Howling Hex show (featuring Neil Michael Hagerty) at NYC's Knitting Factory. Enter right away by e-mailing contest@othermusic.com. The winners will be notified by 2:00 P.M., this afternoon (Thursday). Leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached.


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This Monday, Four Tet returns to NYC's Bowery Ballroom, along with Jamie Lidell and Koushik. Other Music will be giving away two pairs of tickets. To enter, e-mail giveaway@othermusic.com. Leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The winners will be notified by 1:00 P.M., on Friday, October 7th.



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  Sun 16 Mon 17 Tues 18 Wed 19 Thurs 20 Fri 21 Sat 22


On October 15 & 16, twenty-six influential musicians, filmmakers, designers, artists and creative professionals will participate in panel discussions and individual presentations on the Cooper Union stage in NYC. Guests include Antony (of Antony & the Johnsons), Calvin Johnson (K), Mac McCaughan (Merge), photographers William Eggleston & Stephen Shore, Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine), David Cross (Mr. Show), Neal Brennan (Chappelle's Show), Bruce Sinofsky (Paradise Lost), Ondi Timoner (Dig!), and many more.

You can enter to win a pair of tickets by e-mailing tickets@othermusic.com. The winner will be notified by Tuesday, October 11. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached.

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Sunday, October 16 @ 7:30 P.M.

15 East 4th Street NYC
(212) 477.8150
Free Admission/Limited Capacity





CD w/ Bonus EP


Broken Social Scene
(Arts & Crafts)

"IBI Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)"
"7/4 (Shoreline)"

In 2003, Broken Social Scene seemed to come from nowhere, an unknown collaboration between some moderately popular artists would suddenly be anointed as indie rock saviors, receiving the kind of adoration by fans that you'd normally witness during a Brad Pitt sighting or a visit from the Pope. Featuring members from Stars, Do Make Say Think, and Leslie Feist, the Great White North had produced yet another supergroup, and certainly gave the New Pornographers a run for the money as the most requested Canadian band in our "In" section. Fast forward a few years; Broken Social Scene's highly anticipated, eponymous titled record picks up and takes off, quite literally, from where they left us in 2003, with their breakthrough You Forgot It in People. The Toronto collective have welcomed six new members to the fold and sound more shambolic, loose and exploratory than ever.

Songs like album opener "Our Faces Split the Coast in Half" are stacked thick with layers of instrumentation from countless tracks of guitar, horns, electronics and percussion, which seem to be traveling in every which direction but the same. Yet the song is far from chaotic, instead a dreamy pop montage of sounds and breezy melodies emerge, including Leslie Feist's distant voice which bounces about the cymbal crashes. In contrast, the aptly titled "IBI Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)" is every bit as explosive You Forgot It's "KC Accidental," sounding like some now-unfathomable collaboration between Pavement and My Bloody Valentine; while the propulsive "7/4 (Shoreline)" might very well be Broken Social Scene's shining moment, filled with cresting dynamics and beautiful vocal interplay between the band members.

As any fan would expect, BSS cover a lot of ground, always bursting with ideas that should be over-ambitious yet are almost always impeccably executed. Nothing exemplifies this better than album closer "It's All Gonna Break," which snakes through Big Star-inspired power pop, slo-mo Dinosaur Jr. break-downs, and finally builds back up into a symphonic send-off, filled with the same sort of pomp and circumstance that you'd hear in the finale of a marching band's half-time show.

A few years back, I had pretty much written indie rock off as dead; but with groups like Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Wolf Parade breathing new life into a once-tired formula, indie rock seems reborn. No band cements this fact better than Broken Social Scene. (First pressing includes a bonus seven-song EP, while supplies last.) [GH]







American Primitive Vol. 2: Pre-War Revenants

"Last Kind Words Blues" Geeshie Wiley
"Motherless Child Blues" Elvie Thomas
"My Mama Always Talked to Me" John Hammond

Shellac-coveting record geeks consider the years between the two world wars to be the golden age, when record companies were willing to record almost any sort of musical group, sending microphones out into the field and documenting musical trends that would be forever altered by the intrusion of mass media. It's not that 1925 record execs were open-minded in their pursuit of cutting records of almost anything, but rather that they were clueless, unable to fathom what their rural audiences (either black or white) would buy.

John Fahey's Revenant returns to meditate on the meaning of "revenant" itself, a spirit that returns after a long absence. Which is true especially in their case, as this Fahey-curated project was suspended for a run of ornate box sets that redefined box sets (Charley Patton, Albert Ayler) and to loose the fourth element of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music upon the world. This follow-up to their first American Primitive has been a long time coming, and completely worth the wait.

Names all but lost to time, with neither pictures nor any scrap of knowledge to expound upon their curious strains of music, are somehow captured in the shellac etchings and conjured in the present. Sure, plenty of labels trade in such old-timey music, document it in fine fashion, be it Yazoo, Folkways, Old Hat, yet few have the ear for the stunning and strange quite like Revenant does. Call it aberrations as apparitions. Here we have buzzing minstrel tent caterwaul; an organ-powered plaint to Jesus that plumb vibrates on a peculiar plane of 'other'; Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas, two of the finest female blues phantoms to ever haunt the ghost world; false preachers that are imbued with the spirit nevertheless; a grape pop jingle that turns into holy hum before your very ears. And that's just in the first five songs! Fifty slices of the rawest goo, the oddest made-up songs, off-kilter musings, jazz stomps, kazoo-fueled bands, and pure joie de vivre spurting through at every moment. [AB]








Days of Mars

"Black Spring"

With all eyes on artists like Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, and the Juan Maclean in recent years, it's easy to forget that DFA's M.O. isn't solely disco-punk, and that Black Dice aren't the label's token experimenters. Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom are case in point. If anything, I think this Brooklyn couple might be the very soul to the DFA body, or at very least--and unarguably--the Teutonic pulse. (For further proof check out "Casual Friday," a single which they released on DFA as Black Leotard Front, their performance art persona. Spacey, Kraut-inspired keyboard sounds glide across a slinky, disco-funk groove…sure gets my vote for the sexiest song award.) Their first full-length dives right into where their "El Monte" 12-inch left us: a meditative cosmic journey covering similar territory to that explored by Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching and Cluster. Gonzalez and Russom created these tracks by layering live recordings of keyboards and other instruments, many which they built themselves, perhaps the reason that these four lengthy free-floating pieces feel as if they could have made during the mid-'70s with Conny Plank sitting behind the engineering console. I had to shake myself out of the blissful trance left by album closer "Black Spring," a track which effortlessly fuses the sensual electronic arpeggiations of Göttsching's "E2-E4" with the hypnotizing free form minimalism of Terry Riley's "In C." [GH]









"Rock On"

It's been a while since I've gotten into an electronic record. Not for lack of good artists, but none have been that compelling for a rock-leaning listener like myself. Well, thanks Jackson, you knocked me on my ass. Of course I'm going to cite Boards of Canada as a point of reference, since Music Has the Right to Children was the album that swayed a lot of rockers into liking electronica in the first place.

On Smash, Jackson's full-length debut, the atmospherics anchored by melody, odd samples, Commodore 64-isms and skittering, sometimes abrasive but solid rhythms parallel BoC, and even Herbert, but Jackson has created an album full of textures that twist and turn like a good story plot. With "Oh Boy" and "TV Dog," words wind around these elements. "Oh Boy" is a cut up fairy tale as told by--yep--a little boy, its soundtrack complete with water sounds, flies, simple keyboard melodies, snare drum rolls, and a chorus of "oh boy's" snuck in at intervals. Directly following, "TV Dog" takes over, its sinister story beginning with broken music box sounds in the background, then catapulting into deep, spacey beats, and a cackling laugh from the storyteller. After the L'Invasion Planete-esque interlude, Mike Ladd raps amidst the all too fitting funky space vibes--so on it that I had to hit repeat.

If indie rock was the genre du jour that carried the Boards of Canada US debut, psychedelic/prog rock is it for Jackson, especially on "Teen Beat Ocean"--a song noisy enough to recreate guitar cacophony with electronics and just enough Vangelis, Deep Purple and King Crimsonisms to cover the lack of guitars. Not forgetting the Computer Band, songs like the short "Promo" and "Moto" feature tributes to old computer game sound cards. So, no new musical territory is covered, but Smash is an amalgamation of recycled nuggets nuked just right and served on a shiny new platter. Dig in! [LG]






Heavy Heavy Heavy

"Heavy Heavy Heavy"
"Africans Must Unite"

Geraldo Pino is one of the major unsung heroes of Afro-beat. He didn't invent it per se, but if it weren't for his music and influence, especially on a young Fela Kuti, it probably wouldn't exist. In Kuti's own words, "After seeing this Pino, I knew I had to get my shit together. And quick!" Pino was a bandleader from Sierra Leone who was the first to put conventional American R&B arrangements and black power lyrics in African popular music. James Brown seems to be the biggest influence here. The rhythms are definitely more straightforward (think "Give It Up, Turn It Loose") and Pino has the same sort of call and response vocalizing that Brown had; but there is definitely more urgency (if that's possible) and the production is more raw, of course. All of his music has been very difficult to find, so this is a revelation of sorts, and a godsend to all fans of great black music. Highest recommendation y'all!! [DH]






Space Shift

"Rapid Rate"

Having cut his teeth with the minimal space age soul trio known as Spacek, as well as being the select guest vocalist for Platinum Pied Pipers, Sa-Ra, GB, and Troubleman, UK resident Steve Spacek releases his solo effort. On Space Shift, he handles the productions mainly by himself with a little assistance from J-Dilla (on the Curtis Mayfield/O'Jays flavored "Dollar"), and from GB on the click and skitter rhythms of "Rapid Rate." This is more of a nod to America's nu-soul movement than you might expect, however, he bends the genre with soulful and electronic backings. Snares and cymbals are crisp and snappy; synths are filtered, compressed and smeared over the rhythms; all the while Mr. Spacek rides it with his effortless mellow flavoring. Not as engaging as the Spacek albums, yet not lacking in quality either. If you like Dwele, Omar, P.P.P., Peven Everett, or New Sector Movement, it's worth a listen. [DG]







Fall Heads Roll

"Pacifying Joint"
"I Can Hear the Grass Grow"

Here's the triumphant return of the great, slack-jawed one. Last year's Real New Fall Album was certainly a return to form and Fall Heads Roll delivers similarly. Mark E. Smith sneers and croons in typical fashion, with newfound contempt and conviction, on an album that is equal parts glorious pop noise and middle finger racket. The band sounds perfectly tight and ramshackle at the same time, and the production is beefed up just enough to give the songs a subtle sheen.

"Pacifying Joint" is classic MES, all detached disdain and punk rock romp, while "Blindness" is a monumental 7+ minutes of the same hypnotic, churning bassline, and "Bo Demmick" comes across as Suicide jamming with Gene Vincent. And the cover of the Move's hallucinatory ode "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" could perhaps turn out to be an epic of a cover as Fall live staple "Mr. Pharmacist". Oh yeah, there's a ballad on here too, with such a classic Fall song title I couldn't leave it out, "Early Days of Channel Fuhrer."

Upstarts take a bow, and take notes. Best band ever. [AK]







Witching Hour

"High Rise"
"Soft Power"

Ladytron may be responsible for having emerged at the wrong place at the wrong time...or the right place at the right time. Often lumped in with the Electroclash Scene (capital 'S' if you're nasty) at their reigning time, despite a keener sense of melody and songcraft than most of the ilk, you may question their relevance three years on. Whatever side of the fence you might be on, Ladytron has reemerged, abandoning the hollow-tin synth melodies of their former albums for layers of lush shoegazer riffs unwinding from hazy guitars. The vocals and the beats stay (rightly) the same and as it turns out, this might be Ladytron's best album yet. [JO]






Unreleased Night Food & Rare Black Ark Sessions

"Party Time (Extended Mix)"

One of the truly great harmony groups from Jamaica, the Heptones got their start early on during the rocksteady era, but over the years developed their sound and set a high standard for roots reggae craftsmanship. Here, the Hot Pot label has been kind enough to offer us 11 unreleased tracks and dubs from the famed Black Ark sessions with Lee Perry. Lead singer and bassist Leory Sibbles once said that he really enjoyed these studio experiences with Perry, as this was before the producer went way off the deep end and became difficult to work with. But this is just what you would expect, top notch backing by the Wailers, as well as the superb playing of the Heptones. Lee Perry's presence is definitely felt with his incredible collection of leftfield flying samples and warm, liquid rhythms. These are prime time Black Ark sessions here. [GA]





$16.99 CD


$17.99 Dual Disc CD/DVD


You Could Have It So Much Better

"The Fallen"

I can't believe that it's been almost two years since we ran our first Franz Ferdinand review in the update, the "Darts of Pleasure" single which had me hooked upon first listen. I don't think anyone could have predicted the meteoric rise which the fab four from Scotland would experience in the year that followed. A few months ago, I read a quote from a Franz member claiming that they were making their Led Zeppelin album, something I knew not to take literally--at least I tried not to. Granted, we made it through the Gang of Four revival fairly unscathed, the last thing this world needs is a Zoso overload. I'm happy to report that there are no "Stairway to Heaven" moments on Franz Ferdinand's latest, though there is one Jimmy Page sounding guitar riff in "I'm Your Villain" that veers dangerously close to "Trampled Underfoot."

Anyway, naming their second album You Could Have It So Much Better is certainly a ballsy move on the band's part, especially when you take into account how many jaded journalists are out there ready to have a field day with a title like that. There's no sophomore slumping here though, as tracks like the feel-good glam stomping "Do You Want To" and the hyper-charged "This Boy" are every bit as hooky as "Take Me Out." Franz Ferdinand sound great, and definitely invigorated, throwing out more catchy, Scottish-accented harmonies than heard on their self-titled debut. If anything, You Could displays a larger variety of influences and some bigger rock moves, by way of louder guitar breaks and a few more interesting twists and turns. There are even a couple of ballads, including the Bowie-esque "Eleanor Put Your Boots On," no doubt a tribute to frontman Alex Kapranos' girlfriend Eleanor Friedberger, of Fiery Furnaces fame. Naysayers be damned, Franz Ferdinand are still very much at the top of their art-damaged pop game. (Dual Disc's DVD side includes the entire album in enhanced LPCM stereo, a music video for "Do You Want To," interviews, and footage of the band in the studio.) [GH]







Songs in the Key of Zoloft
(Gold Soundz)

"Brad Wood"

Hartley Goldstein is a longtime Other Music customer, seemingly popping by every couple of days, ravenously devouring indie rock, pop, weird old reissues, and whatever else he can get his hands on. Hartley is a nebbishy, nerdy superfan. His review is not payola for the many dollars that Hartley has spent at our shop, but his music-fanatic status is intrinsic to his music. Hartley has thrown his hat into the ring in the battle to be the prince of fan-pop (a new genre of songs abut loving songs, and pop culture, and maybe loving life too), and his new EP makes the strongest case for fan coronation that I've heard in some time.

Hartley's unabashed fandom makes him chronically uncool, and he plays this angle up to the hilt on his record, singing gleefully about his uncool heroes, George Harrison, Woody Allen (the truly moving "A Love Song For Annie Hall"), and his breakaway hit, "Brad Wood," a call-to-arms about living and dying and loving indie rock with all your heart, and a boy's fantasy about actually working with his nerdy hero, the (relatively small-time) producer Brad Wood. It may be hard to believe that a song that name-checks That Dog could find any universal truth, but Goldstein's love is infectious and inspiring in its total puppy-dog devotion, and this record is testament to following your tiny, personal dreams. Goldstein has managed to find a cause to live for in his shout-chorus of "I wanna pop like it's '94/I want whiny vocals, distortion and hooks galore." That pretty much lays out what you're in for here, with lush, yet unapologetically indie production (by another minor legend, Adam Lasus), and with JP Jones, Joe McGinty and Tommy Borschied adding a few more notable names and a joyful miasma of guitar fuzz, pounding drums, vintage organs, handclaps, Moog, glockenspiel and more.

To quote Hartley on Brad: "I heard that you dated Liz Phair and I thought that that was simply unfair. How could you be the world's best producer and still get all the hip chicks too? Even if you never dated Liz Phair the guitars on 'Menthol' were just beyond compare." Somewhat unbelievably, Goldstein can make lines like this come off as sing-alongs and if you add the fact that we can't keep his record on the shelves, and maybe also the adorable girlfriend that you can often find beside him as they wriggle up front at another rock show, and you have strong testament to the power of Hartley's conviction that fan-boys do win sometime. If you love power-pop, anti-folk or good old-fashioned indie-rock, stop pretending that you're cooler than the rest of us, join in, and enjoy yourself too. [JM]







Second Time Around

"The Second Time Around"
"We Gonna Do It Again"

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. A group would finally come along that merges the warped bass and synths, a la Funkadelic, with a contemporary leaning and Pro-Tools sheen and equally freaked dual (falsetto and bass) vocal treatments, not to mention a bounce that just won't stop. That roughly describes the sound of Sa-Ra Creative Partners. Part A&R wonder kids, part production trio, these three men bridge the gap between Hollywood and New York, all multi-skilled, with a list of fans, followers and clients that include Kayne West, Roots, Platinum Pied Pipers, and Erykah Badu. This double-single shows off their production skills with shining, post-bling, nu-soul brilliance. They immerse themselves in hip-hop's VIP lounge, all the while bringing the soul and personality back to urban music. Vocals across these six songs come from Pharoah Monch, J-Dilla, Steve Spacek, and the main men themselves. Already championed as the next big thing for the last two years, now you get to cast your vote. Think of Sa-Ra as sounding something like this year's (electronic) N*E*R*D or Andre 3000--with more of a homage to George Clinton than Lenny Kravitz--and a Kehinde Wiley painting come to life. All the shimmer and shake of Jay-Z and Kayne with none of the after taste. How 'bout an album? [DG]







Cannery Hours
(Say Hey)

"Cannery Hours"
"All Over Idaho"

This review was partially written in the style of my colleague Scott Mou, as he's out this week.

First off, the Occasion are a seriously underrated band. A very seriously underrated one. Certainly one of the best bands to see in the NYC area for some time now. That's the usual rap on them. This debut full-length is a super-impressive collection of songs, which were written by three different members. Only one was I not able to recognize from seeing them play live many, many times over the years. It is also perhaps the most impressive, the closing "The Maiden." Beginning with a familiar-from-their-live-show segue, both its having been recorded in a church for the record, and its starting place in this overall song, all of which lend an improbable distance, yet effectively encapsulated booming quality, and one that just could not be replicated live (in a normal rock venue). This perhaps illustrates that the goal here was perhaps not to reproduce their sound live so much as to apparently pore over the details.

Maybe this is also why it has taken them almost five years to put out a real LP since they started, and trust me they were fucking really good to start with! The second song in is the more recent, but by now oft-performed, title track. Somehow it encompasses Zeppelin, a touch of Elliott Smith, and a sweet late-nite Michelob commercial of yore all in one. Probably their most giddy, exciting song too. The fourth one in, another Jordi Wheeler-led composition, "Register My Complaints" is the SINGLE, if there proves to be one. "All Over Idaho" is a brave, brave number led by drummer Charles Burst, and the outro will be sampled one day, mark my words. The STATION WAGON blast-from-the-past that Ryan Adams only wishes for these days. Although he's on the right track now, I must say. Gordon Lightfoot is a woefully forbidden touchstone. He ruled!

Brent Cordero, penner of "The Maiden," has very mellifluous keys/vocal interplay throughout, and they can all harmonize. Jordi's and Charles' songs are maybe a bit more severe and austere by measure. They dominate much of the landscape here though, until Cordero kind of runs away with it at the end there. All are great, however, and this sort of discussion happening with me, and well, us, right now only reaffirms that is a bizarrely talented band we are dealing with here (including bassist Marlon Sporer's flawless underpinning, and Sara Shaw's subtle tape-loopery). [DHo]







Someday Man
(Collectors Choice)

"Mornin' I'll Be Movin' On"
"Roan Pony"

Look Paul Williams up on Google Image Search. You'll probably recognize him. You may have seen him in Smokey & The Bandit or possibly the Muppet Movie, for which he co-wrote the song "Rainbow Connection." If you've ever seen Brian DePalma's sublimely ridiculous movie musical The Phantom of the Paradise, you'll definitely be familiar with him. He wrote the music and played the lead role of Swan, a superstar record producer who tricks his unwitting young artists into signing devious agreements with Satan. In addition to his acting career, Williams was the leader of a little-known late-'60s sunshine pop group called the Holy Mackerel. For a time, he worked as a staff writer at White Whale records. Later he worked for A&M, and with his partner Roger Nichols he wrote some of the Carpenters' biggest hits, as well as songs for the Monkees and Three Dog Night.

Someday Man was the songwriting team's personal pet project, with Nichols writing pretty much all of the music and playing guitar, bass, and piano, with Williams taking care of the lyrics and singing, backed by a small army of Los Angeles studio musicians. It's an incredibly opulent soft rock album with massive string swells and bombastic brass parts, woodwinds, harpsichord, sitar, totally great arrangements and production on every track. I can't help but think of Jimmy Webb, who wrote and produced massive hits like "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park" and also had a great lesser-known solo career. This isn't exactly the same as that stuff, but it's in the same ballpark. Interest in Someday Man was apparently revived by an adulatory Mojo magazine article in 2001, and now, four years later, the album gets its first domestic CD release. It's about time, this is a really enjoyable pop artifact. [RH]








"Wordless Chorus"

Z is My Morning Jacket's first release since the breakthrough success of their major-label debut It Still Moves, and the first featuring their new lineup, having changed up the keys and the lead guitar as long months on the road took their toll on the band. Jim James, the group's leader, singer and songwriter, has straddled the fence here, successfully hanging onto the classic rock sound that made him famous while unafraid to move forward and throw a couple of curves at the fans.

The album opens with a pulsing bass-tone and keyboard riff that can't help but bring to mind James' idol Neil Young's bold, hated, and yet ultimately brilliant 1983 new wave experiment Trans. Listeners may be a bit more open-minded these days, and imitating an innovator does not always make for groundbreaking art (James also wisely skips the vocoder vocal experiments), but "Wordless Chorus" is a haunting and original intro to another excellent record of classic and beautiful pop-rock songwriting and simple, warm production.

Although Z never quite bangs heads and shreds those guitars as the group is known for live, James' voice is as sad and expressive as ever. The band is relaxed but rocking, and the production here gives the songs room to breathe. Tracks like "Off the Record," "Anytime," and the reverb-arpeggio of "Gideon" are amongst the best the group has recorded, and despite the obvious influences finds the seasoned band coming into its own voice. [JM]








"Stoch Och Sten"

Listening to this domestic reissue of Dungen's second proper album, Stadsvandringar (originally released in 2002), it is hard to believe that this was not the record that gained these Swedish-psych torch carriers the acclaim they later received with the massively successful Ta Det Lugnt. Ethereal vocals seemingly bathed in light. Fuzzy, swelling guitars invoking saturated colour daydreams. It's all here and all is perfect. I dare you to listen to this album and not imagine yourself in some dayglo green field of orange coloured skies or doing aqua aerobics in the sea with the elusive giant squid....it could happen. [JO]







Thinking of You
(Thrill Jockey)

"Right Brothers"

Seventeen years and seven albums on, and Freakwater are still searching "Up to the highest star/and down to the hotel bar/to find someone who knows me," as the chorus of disc opener "Right Brothers" croons. Twelve new originals here, but songwriting is one of the few concessions the group makes to the modern era, otherwise sticking, beautifully, to a tradition of country music that reaches back to the 1940s, or earlier. Save a lone peal of guitar feedback that opens the otherwise sonically serene (but emotionally devastating) "Buckets Of Oil," Thinking Of You is nearly entirely acoustic, with simple guitars, fiddle, pedal steel, drums, and the occasional electric organ providing rich but unobtrusive backing to Cathy Irwin and Janet Bean's tired, heartbreaking vocal harmonies. A great new album for the bad, the sad, the lost, and the lonely. [JM]







Live It Out
(Last Gang)


Yes, more indie rock goodness from Canada. Two of Metric's members, singer/keyboardist Emily Haines and guitarist/producer James Shaw, are also part of Broken Social Scene's ever-growing family, but that's pretty much where the similarity between the two bands stops. Opposed to Broken Social Scene's sprawling, oft-experimental brand of rock, Metric's pop charms are more immediate, dancey, and new wave inspired. Opting for a heavier but still more polished edge than 2003's Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, Haines continues to wrap newspaper headline topics like war, sexuality, and capitalism in a subversively catchy cloak of punk drumming and crunchy, angular guitars, delivering breathy sing-speak one-liners like "Buy this car to drive to work/drive to work to pay for this car." [GH]









Tulikoira begins ominously with some atmospheric reverberations and echoing vocals, teasing the listener with guitar feedback fading in and out until purposeful metal riffs chop up the calm with an all-out assault. The song snakes in another direction toward the middle--incantations sung by a deep baritone slow down the head banging pace to a slow burn--then the rhythm picks up again, aided by bells and ushered out with crashing cymbals and low rumbling feedback.

On the second song, "Tillihnhu," the smile-cracking metal operatics continue. There's even an AC/DC like yowl mid-song. And of course, Circle has their own influences; King Crimson and Magma come to mind, especially with Circle's own made up language, Meronian, though none of the above use minimal, sometimes atmospheric electronic infusions (a la Suicide) like Circle has injected into all their releases.

This album, though, is very different from the almost all instrumental Pori (the first that I ever heard which seemed to be easier to find than the obscure Finnish-only gems). While Pori treads the post-rock lakes of Tortoise and Trans Am, Tulikoira dives in and creates a whirlpool of varying heavy rhythms and sounds. The last song is the best example. It meanders into several planes of existence: metal, opera, and even a prog-electro percussion that sounds like the merging of traffic if Stereolab, Oneida and a Jim O'Rourke outtake were highways. Now's the time to catch up on Circle's back catalog and have some fun. [LG]







No New York

"Helen Fordsdale" Mars
"Size" D.N.A.

This is it: the Art Bomb, The Infinitely Hot and Dense Dot, the classic 1978 album that unleashed New York's No Wave scene like a virus into the hothouse of music. Producer Brian Eno rounded up four bands that welded the blistering ferocity of punk to short, mysterious art gestures and abandoned pop like a dead skin, and let them blurt out four abrasions apiece. D.N.A. (including both Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori!) curdles James Brown's yelps and the scratch of funk guitar into a spastic, twitchy, anti-tonal fit; Brown's also a distant reference point for James Chance's group the Contortions, who de-funk and de-tune "I Can't Stand Myself" and throw in three more spattering, flesh-loathing quasi-grooves. A very young Lydia Lunch fronts Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, who have something to scream about and genuinely cannot play their instruments at all (Bradley Field is credited with "drum"). And Mars are the deepest mystery of all, sexy and gruesome, smearing psycho poetry and unconscious tics across the stereo field. An essential document of an incredible moment finally reissued at a much affordable price than the previous Japanese import. [DW]







Gold & Green
(Thrill Jockey)

"I'm a Song"
"Moss Trumpeter"

Thanks to Thrill Jockey, OOIOO's Gold and Green finally sees domestic release on American shores. Originally released in 2000, the record begins and ends with epic horns that sandwich an album of mature, psychedelic shimmers, middle-to far-east instrumentation, and the faintest shadow of samba. The project of the Boredoms' Yoshimi and friends, Gold and Green concentrates on exploratory jams and coherent song structure. That's not to say the quirky samples and toy squeaks and tinkles of Gold and Green's predecessor, Feather Float, have totally disappeared. "I'm a Song" alludes to the plunky, space-age jams first introduced on their Kill Rock Stars 7-inch. Yoshimi's primitive beats emerge later, with a simple turned and rhythm-shifted melody that sounds lifted from a munchkin movie. [LG]







The Magic Numbers

"Mornings Eleven"
"Forever Lost"

As if Buddy Holly grew out his hair and returned to front a band of skiffle playing gnomes, the Magic Numbers' debut album blows across the Atlantic on a puff of sunshine and smoke and will burrow into your consciousness. Despite UK chart success and fawning praise, this London quartet makes some of the least pretentious, unassuming and joyful pop I've heard in a long while. Led by the prodigious talents of singer-songwriter-guitarist Romeo Stodart, and fleshed out with lovely harmonies, handclaps and bouncing rhythms by his sister Michelle, as well as the brother-sister duo of Sean and Angela Gannon, they are currently charming the world with their sweet, sad, love-struck and loose debut album. The songs effortlessly manage to evoke the primal joy of early radio pop while never lapsing for a moment into nostalgia, and the album will be adored by fans of the indie-pop of the Decemberists, orchestrated psychedelia of the Flaming Lips, and collectors of vintage sunshine pop and '60s radio gems. [JM]







Thunder, Lightning, Strike

"The Power Is On"

You'd think these rambunctious British rockers stole the Avalanches' laptop. The Go! Team are imaginative and funky, mixing nostalgic samples with live instruments. Very original and strangely familiar, like listening to a '70s kid show soundtrack with a sugar buzz.




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